B. 1933 James Rosenquist attended the Minneapolis School of Art (1948) and studied at the University of Minnesota (1952-1954) before moving to New York, where he studied at the Art Students League and attended drawing classes organized by Jack Youngerman and Robert Indiana (1957-1958). Rosenquist supported himself for much of the 1950s by working as a billboard painter. This experience was instrumental to his artistic development, as smoothly painted, vibrantly colored, large-scale images of consumer items, movie stars, and random elements of popular culture became the subjects of his painting. In May of 1962 Rosenquist received a one-person exhibition at the Green Gallery and later that year was included in the New Realists show at the Sidney Janis Gallery. His work was exhibited internationally throughout the 1960s, and was included in the exhibition of pop art at Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum (1964), the Sao Paulo Biennale (1967), the Whitney Museum of American Art's Annual Exhibition (1967), and Documenta 4 (1968); in 1972 the Whitney Museum of American Art organized a survey of his paintings that traveled to the Walraf Richardtz in Cologne and MoCA in Chicago. In 1985 the Denver Art Museum presented a painting retrospective that traveled to Houston, Des Moines, Buffalo, Washington, DC and once again to the Whitney Museum.
Tatyana Grosman first saw Rosenquist's work at his 1962 Green Gallery exhibition, and with the help of Jasper Johns, brought him to ULAE, where he experimented with all forms of printmaking.